Peterborough man guilty of attacking elderly woman with brick in robbery attempt

A would-be-robber who used a brick found at the side of the road to attack an elderly woman in a Peterborough street is facing a spell behind bars after being found guilty at court.

Brandon Cliffe (20) of Pipe Lane, Peterborough, denied attacking the 69-year-old woman in Padholme Road in July last year.

Court news

Court news

The pensioner suffered a serious head wound in the attack, and was left screaming in shock and pain by her attacker.

But it took the 11 jurors at Peterborough Crown Court less than two hours to see through his lies as they found him guilty of attempted robbery and assault today.

Cliffe initially told police he knew nothing about the attack - but he changed his story when he got into the witness box, blaming an acquaintance.

Cliffe will be sentenced on February 11, when it is expected he will be jailed.

Peterborough Crown Court heard how the woman was walking down the street on July 30 2018, just before 7pm when the attack happened.

Tim Brown, prosecuting, opened the case and said: “Somebody - the prosecution say this defendant - came up behind her and tried to grab the trolley.

“She resisted and clung on, and there was a struggle.

“The prosecution say at that point the defendant picked up a stone or half brick, and clouted her over the head, causing a 4cm gash.

“She was in distress, on the floor screaming.”

The court heard two teenage lads came to help the woman.

Whilst waiting for police, the boys spotted the defendant hiding in bushes a short distance away.

Mr Brown added: “They pointed the man out to police, and they conducted a search. They flushed him out of the bushes, and he ran off - but he only ran a short distance before he was arrested.”

Mr Brown said one of the boys picked Cliffe out in a video identity procedure the following day.

When he was interviewed by police, Cliffe said he had been drinking in the subway with acquaintance William Thornton at the time of the attack.

He said Mr Thornton had ran off from the scene, and he had also fled when he was approached by youths - but said he had given himself up when asked to by police.

He said: “We were walking home, and he ran off. I don’t know what for.

“I was quizzing in my head. I thought it was strange.

“There was a woman ion the floor, crying, blood everywhere, and ambulance there - I see police, and I ran away.”

Samantha Marsh, defending, asked if Cliffe had seen what had happened.

He said: “I saw William run over, pick up a brick and attempt to rob the woman. I saw him do it.

“He picked up a brick from the side of the road and ran over to the woman from behind and hit her on the head.

“I ran away.”

Cliffe said he had ran away because he was afraid he would be recalled to prison for missing a probation appointment.

He told the jury he had changed his story from when he was interviewed by police because he had a condition which makes him forget things - and since his arrest he had remembered what happened.

The court also heard Cliffe had pleaded guilty to a previous attempted robbery in 2017.